Once you know how to design and manipulate the space outside, inside, and around your content, you’ll be able to give your readers a head start, position products more precisely, and perhaps even begin to see your own content in a new light.
On a different note… I’m so bored of people who think that they’re cool because they can think of negative things to say about the iPhone… especially when practically all of them disclaimer it with ‘oh, I totally love it and I can’t wait to buy one, but…’. Sure, there are definitely some technical issues (how is this phone not 3G?! what’s with the built in battery? etc.) and of course we can’t make definitive statements about the usability of the interface until we actually get a proper look at one of the, in the flesh. But people, please.
Negativity is so 2006.
Speaking of which. 10 days in and my New Years Resolutions are miraculously still holding… How’re yours doing?
What a great follow on from my previous rant on mobile UI – go read Steve Jobs’ overview of what he thinks of the current breed of mobile phones and how fun they are (not!) to use, and what Apple have done about it.
This *has* to be the most lust-worthy device on the planet at the moment. I’d trade my Nokia N73 in a heartbeat for one of these.
What’s so cool about it?
it’s beautiful. When was the last time you saw a beautiful mobile UI? (I can hear you saying ‘never’ from here). The interface design is sexy. Lustworthy. Typical Apple.
it’s gestural. There’s one button, a home button, and your fingers do all the rest of the work. Check out the ‘slide to unlock’ in the image above. Forget millions of tiny buttons – you have the interface you need at the time to do the job you’re doing (because this puppy is a phone, an iPod and more!). Forget styluses – they’re a pain in the neck and get lost all the time. Fingers are the input device of the future.
it’s aware. It has sensors that tells it whether you’re looking at in in portrait or landscape mode and it adjusts accordingly. It knows when you’re using it as a phone and shuts off the interface. How clever!
It does all the work for you. Sometimes it’s the simple things that count. Having spent hours and hours configuring and setting up my new Nokia N73 to utilise all the stuff that’s installed on it and some of it’s capabilities. How much easier is the Apple approach where the device does all the work for you.
Oooh! and that Google Maps integration… I love it. Why didn’t we think of that already?
For a long time, usability and design people have been debating about whether or not people want ‘convergent’ or multifunctional devices. Is it possible for one device to be able to do many different things well? Or will a device always be primarily one animal that has some capabilities in other areas.
Apple has just made that debate completely redundant.
And the crazy thing is that the whole approach is so incredibly obvious. Look at the task that the user is trying to achieve and design the interface to support that. By removing the nightmarish restrictions of the hardware and replacing it with one big, responsive screen, Apple has shed all of these restrictions and with it, all the things we thought to be conventional about mobile phone design.
Sign me up. I want one now.
The only thing I’m a little sad about is how much of a fuss Steve is making about patenting all the cool things they’ve developed for this phone. More than 200 patents.
That’s not very caring, sharing 2.0 is it? (Of course, Apple shareholders might see this somewhat differently).
Check out the keynote for yourself at Engadget (brilliant live coverage, well done!)
Yahoo has bought the distributed social network MyBlogLog…the story says the price is around $10 million…. I’ve been signed up on MyBlogLog for a while now… it’s kind of cool but very ugly and *desperately* needs a better mechanism for browsing. Go check it out, and see if you can find me there!
Have you seen the Yahoo! Go 2.0 interface yet? I have, although only on my laptop as their mobile beta is currently full… I’m on the waiting list.
Yahoo! are very excited about this interface. Here’s how they describe it:
A revolutionary design. Yahoo Go! is the first application optimized for the “small screen” of a mobile phone that truly makes it easy and fun to access the Internet. Everything about the Yahoo! Go interface is designed to be both visually stunning and give you what you want with the fewest clicks possible.
At the core of the UI is the ‘carousel’ at the bottom of the screen that allows you to switch between the various widgets or applications (such as email, and the typical content streams – news, finance, sport etc.).
The carousel could hardly be described as revolutionary, as it is obviously inspired by the Mac OS UI.
More interesting, I think, is the design of the mobile search and the customisation of content sources.
The mobile search actually sounds pretty clever. Not only have the designed the search results in a way that is more useful for the mobile user:
oneSearch includes more actual content in your initial results than any other search—all grouped by subject matter and relevance, so there’s no sea of links to wade through like with a PC search.
The search engine also has location awareness – both awareness of where you are in the application AND physical location awareness. Now this is getting sexy.
oneSearch improves results based on both where you are in the application and where you are in the real world. For instance, launching a search for “eagles” in Sports will return results for the professional football team first. Similarly, searching for a movie will yield showtimes in your local area.
Ah, can it be – finally – location based services coming to a handset near you! I’ve waited a long time for this!
Content customisation looks as though it allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds to your phone using their interface. Very nice (although probably not so new). So you can choose who provides your news rather than live with whoever Yahoo! has their content deal with.
Another nice looking feature aims to remove the need to type URLs (hooray! this is no fun at all on a mobile).
Yahoo! Go also makes it easy to get to other websites. Simply type in the name of a website you want to visit (like eBay), and oneSearch returns the link to the website. Click the link and you’re there.
Having recently upgraded to a reasonably current handset (review coming soon!), I can confirm that the mobile user experience remains, as it has been for some time now, utterly rubbish. It’s as though all stakeholders are conspiring to make things as difficult as possible – from the product design of the hardware to the installed software to the internet content and design. There are frustrations and errors to be made at every turn.
So far, most compliments have to be paid to one or two browsers that are invaluable in making the internet a vaguely hospitable place for the mobile browser. Yahoo! Go 2.0 will hopefully also make the overall experience a little more palatable.
At the end of the day though, it should be a massive wake up call to us all that Yahoo! borrowing an element from the OS user interface and transplanting it into the mobile environment could be considered revolutionary.
It seems ridiculous to me that it has taken this long for any kind of innovation to areas like search interface for mobile and eliminating URL entry to occur. Sure, I know it’s a technical nightmare to develop for mobile… but it’s outrageous that little seems to be happening to increase consistency across handsets and browsers and operating systems.
With any luck I’ll get a Beta invite sometime soon… stay tuned for reports on what it’s like to actually use this interface.
Have you used the Go 2.0 interface yet? How’d you find it?
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me